Headlines from around the country with angry constituents at town hall meetings has me positively glowing. There are many things on their minds, but the one common thread is the repeal of the ACA.
The ACA is now MORE POPULAR than it ever was before. Because NOW the threat of it’s repeal is more real than it ever was.
And I’m finding the choice of words they are using with regard to questions about pre-existing condition clauses VERY telling. It’s subtle in a way that those that don’t have pre-existing conditions or haven’t had it long or even prior to the ACA would even pick up on.
Now, before I go any further, I want to refresh (or explain) what used to happen pre-ACA with pre-existing conditions. Prior to the ACA, if you signed up for insurance either at a job or on the individual market, if you had a pre-existing condition you had to prove to the insurance company that you had CONTINUITY OF COVERAGE by providing them PROOF of your previous insurance that included the start date and the date the insurance plan was terminated. IF YOU LAPSED in coverage for more than 3 months, you no longer had continuity of coverage AND the new insurance company would not cover ANYTHING related to any pre-existing conditions for up to 1 year.
The first time I heard the phrase was from Ted Cruz when he debated Bernie Sanders on healthcare on CNN. He said this when asked specifically about pre-existing condition clauses and coverage:
What I’ve said is, is virtually all of the Republican legislation that has been filed that the Democrats have opposed maintains a continuity of coverage so that insurance companies can’t cancel policies.
I caught that phrase and it was a throw back to what the insurance companies always asked of me when I signed up for new insurance.
Tonight, I was watching the full video of Tom Cotton’s Town Hall and a woman asked about pre-existing conditions. Tom Cotton USED THE SAME PHRASE and even went so far as to say we will not allow insurance companies to deny you if you have CONTINUITY OF COVERAGE. He said it just like that.
Clever right? It’s a word trick. Basically, they are going to go back to the SAME RULES that existed prior to the ACA. Sure, those of us who have coverage now, will be able to get coverage later. BUT.. what happens if someone loses their job and can’t afford to maintain cobra coverage? Or what happens when they fall on hard times and with no subsidies (because the Republicans want to do away with subsidies) they lapse in insurance because they can’t pay the premiums? What happens to those people? And, are insurance companies going to be allowed, once again, to charge more for covering someone with a pre-existing condition? Access is NOT the same as affordability.